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201 Commonly Misspelled Words: Spelling Review Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

THAT DARN SCHWA

As we learned in Chapter 1, any vowel can make the schwa (ə) sound. I'm sure this gives the vowels a great feeling of togetherness, but it doesn't make it easy for the people trying to spell these words. Mnemonics can help with these words, for example: "Calendar has a lend surrounded by two as."

aggravate courtesy parallel
analysis definite preparation
boundary exhilarate repetition
bulletin grammar ridiculous
calendar humorous separate
category jealous similar
courteous murmur  

    Pay special attention to:
  • There are two gs in aggravate and two ls in bulletin and parallel.
  • Murmur is the same three letters repeated twice.
  • There is a silent h in exhilarate.

FUEL FOR THOUGHT

ORDER! ORDER!

Waht hppanes wehn you put the ltteres of wrdos in the wonrg odrer? Can you sitll raed the snetcene? The awnesr, azmangliy, is yes! Tihs is bceusae wehn we raed, we look at the etnrie wrod, not the odrer of ecah ltteer. As lnog as the frsit and lsat ltteres are crorcet, our mndis atoumtacilaly usncarblme the rset of the ltteres in the wrod. Tihs deons't maen you sohlud go aornud pruopelsy msipsllenig wrdos, but it's a petrty cool ticrk, aynawy!

TO E OR NOT TO E

Some of these words look like they should have an extra e in them, but they do not. Others look like they shouldn't have an extra e in them, but they do.

argument judgment wherever
development safety  
heroes scary  

SILENT BUT DEADLY

The dreaded silent letters. Of course, there are many other words in the English language with silent letters, but these are the most commonly misspelled.

acquire knowledge subtle
column rhyme vacuum
    Pay special attention to:
  • Acquire has the same unusual acqu- combination as acquaintance.

MISSING SH OR CH

These words all sound like they should have an sh or ch sound but do not.

beneficial conscious negotiate
conscience insufficient temperature
conscientious miniature usually
    Pay special attention to:
  • Conscience, conscientious, and conscious all begin with the letters consci-.
  • Insufficient does not follow the "i before e, except after c" rule.
  • There is an a in temperature and two i's in miniature.

NUMBER WORDS

When listing numbers in a series, you usually add -th to the original number, as with fourth and thirteenth. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule.

eighth ninety twelfth
fifth ninth  
    Pay special attention to:
  • Fifth and twelfth both change their -ve ending to -f.
  • Ninety keeps its silent e; ninth does not.
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